Did you realise that most of the information you see – on the news, in your social feeds – is not positive?
Most of it is about murder, corruption, injustice, diseases, disasters (natural and man-made), and very quickly your brain starts to think that that’s the accurate ratio of negative to positive things in the world.
Ever heard of medical school syndrome?
That’s when, during the first year in med school, as you’re reading through a list of all the symptoms and diseases, you suddenly realise you have all of them.
As happiness researcher Shawn Achor explains in his TED Talk; “[My brother in law] Bobo, called me on the phone from Yale Medical School, and Bobo said, ‘Shawn, I have leprosy’. Which, even at Yale, is extraordinarily rare. But I had no idea how to console poor Bobo because he had just gotten over an entire week of menopause.”
Research is now finding that you’re not shaped by your reality.
But rather by the lens through which your brain views the world that you live in.
Achor explains that if he knew everything about your external world, he could still only predict 10% of your long-term happiness. Because 90% of your long-term happiness is predicted – not by your external world – but by the way your brain processes that world.
And this means that if you change the lens through which your brain interprets the world, you change the outcome. You change your reality.
But how do you change the lens? It’s not like your brain is a camera and we can just snap on a lens with a different focal length…
The answer: gratitude.
Gratitude is the single most powerful ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life.
As extraordinary as it sounds, gratitude turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It makes sense of your past, brings you peace today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
And it’s gratitude that’s the key to a happy life.
Because you and I both know that happiness can’t be travelled to, owned, worn, consumed or earned.
It’s simply the spiritual experience of living every moment with love, grace, and gratitude.
Gratitude is the WHAT part of this equation.
And journaling is the HOW.
Because it’s only through journaling that you can access those deep recesses of your mind that you’re not aware of in daily life.
The only avenue to change the underlying beliefs that govern your choices in life.
I made this course 21 days long because research has shown that’s how long it takes to rewire your brain to start looking for the positive in any given situation.
And it takes time for you to form a sustainable habit.
One of the things I see most people struggle with is turning that initial excitement into an ongoing practice.
That’s where I come in!
Every day, for the next twenty-one days, you’ll have three new prompts to journal about. You can find them at the bottom of every page.
You can take as much or as little time as you want to answer them – in one word or start journaling until you run out of things to put down on the page.
This is about what’s comfortable and convenient for you!
A regular journaling practice doesn’t mean that you have to turn into a Victorian gentleman who can wake up in the morning, eat a breakfast cooked by someone else, spend the morning writing before eating a lunch cooked by someone else, and then head off for the afternoon to write some more before going to the country club to eat a dinner cooked by someone else, rather than to pick up the kids from school.
Think about when is a good time for you to journal and take the time you have to spare that day.
Life happens and that’s allowed!
You’re not gonna get a bad grade because you skip a day or only have two minutes to jot down your answers.
The prompts are designed to be soulful and introspective as well as amplify your gratitude. They are FOR YOU.
If you come across a prompt that you don’t like or that feels difficult, free-journal or write down three things you’re grateful for that day instead.
I encourage anyone who’s just starting out with journaling to write by hand. Because handwriting forces your brain to mentally engage with the information.
But most important is that you do it.
So, choose a method that is most comfortable for you!
Some journaling tips for beginners:
- Your journaling is FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, so don’t hold back.
- Be as blunt and as honest as you can – don’t edit or censor your thoughts and feelings.
- When you write, just let whatever thoughts and feelings come and flow unimpeded onto the page.
- Don’t worry about grammar, focus on getting that flow of words from mind to paper as smooth as possible.
- Try different times of the day to find what suits you best.
I’m so grateful that you’re here today.
Remember: gratitude is like wine for the soul.
So go on, rosé all day!
- The best thing that happened today ways…
- What is one thing you really appreciate about where you work?
- Who made you smile in the past 24 hours? How?